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SES Mall VARENA. /// credit: Robert Fritz, SES Spar European Shopping Centers
SES Mall VARENA. /// credit: Robert Fritz, SES Spar European Shopping Centers

With More Than 112 Million Visitors, Sales Revenues Increased To 3.3 Billion Euros

Financial results 2023: SES shopping malls strengthen position as regional visitor magnet and increase sales revenues above market level.

SES records a pleasing result for the demanding year 2023: in the year just completed, the gross sales turnover of the retailers, gastronomy and service businesses in the SES malls in Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Croatia, Hungary and Czechia amounted to 3.32 billion euros, thus achieving a 5.1 percent increase in sales compared to 2022.

112 million people (+5.2%) visited the SES malls during the past year – which makes their sites especially attractive for the tenants of retail and gastronomy areas. There was also continued site expansion: with the purchase of the mall IL GRIFONE in Bassano del Grappa (Italy) the SES portfolio grew to 31 shopping destinations in six countries. In 2023 SES again made substantial investments in energy-optimized operation, in the quality of visits to the malls and in large-scale, forward-thinking photovoltaic systems. This year, in just a few weeks the first SES hotel will be opened in the center of Lienz. And in Zagreb (Croatia) the go-ahead has just been given for the complete refurbishment of KING CROSS mall.

“SES Shopping Centers deliver outstanding results, are the market leaders in Austria and Slovenia, and are currently the exception within the real estate sector: highly successful, strong visitor magnets that are rock-solid, reliable drivers of success for our shop partners,” comments Marcus Wild, Director SPAR Immobilien and Chair of the SES Supervisory Board. “Our Shopping Center Unit SES is the second most profitable area in the SPAR Group, immediately behind our food retail division! Since amalgamating SES into an autonomous corporate unit over 17 years ago, we have set the shopping center business on a sound foundation, and with our positive headlines we are countering the general trend in the real estate sector.”

“In 2023 too we remained loyal to our fundamental principle of running our malls as vibrant environments, adds Christoph Andexlinger, CEO SES Spar European Shopping Centers. “In so doing we focus totally on those offers that are extremely relevant for our visitors. The past year’s figures motivate us to consistently continue down this route. Generally we are seeing a consolidation of retail spaces, but due to their prime locations and high footfall our sites continue to be in high demand.

Development of Austrian SES malls is above the market level

With a 4.9 percent growth in sales to over 2 billion euros, the Austrian SES shopping locations grew faster than average compared to the general market trend in Austria, based on the report of Statistik Austria. In total, almost all the malls were able to top their 2019 sales. Here SES operates 16 shopping malls, a retail park, and a shopping street which it manages in Seestadt Aspern in Vienna.

Top centers in Austria

The SES malls with the highest sales growth in 2023 compared to 2022 were EUROPARK Salzburg and Sillpark Innsbruck with an increase of over 8 percent, and ATRIO Villach and MARIANDL Krems with a sales increase of over 7 percent. FISCHAPARK Wiener Neustadt, MURPARK in Graz and the Nussdorf-Debant specialist retail park were able to increase their sales by over 6 percent.

Shops on the rise: A-locations are in high demand among industry leaders

SES sites were in great demand from leading brands in 2023: thus the Inditex Group opened a Bershka flagship store at GERNGROSS Vienna, which is its largest branch in Austria. Further major spaces in other centres were leased in the long term. The contract was signed with Peek & Cloppenburg for an opening at CITYPARK Graz, and a totally renovated P&C flagship store was opened in Salzburg. In 2023, a total of 340 lease agreements and extensions were concluded for around 79,000 m² of retail space in SES Malls in Austria alone. Across all the shopping centers numerous new shops opened in the textile, shoe, health&beauty, service and gastronomy segments.

Development in Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Hungary and Czechia

In Slovenia SES is the market leader in large shopping malls and increased its sales at the five locations to over EUR 700 million (+6.5%). In 2023 SES received the renowned Design and Development Award from the European Council of Shopping Places (ECSP) for the shopping mall ALEJA Ljubljana.

Sales revenues from the three North Italian SES shopping malls grew by 1.3 percent in the past year. In September 2023 a fourth location was added, the mall IL GRIFONE in Bassano del Grappa. In Croatia KING CROSS Zagreb increased its sales by 14 percent. Sales at the two Hungarian locations KORZÓ Nyíregyháza and S-PARK Kaposvár grew by 8.5 percent in total. In the Czech mall EUROPARK Prague the new anchor tenant Globus has been a locomotive for growth since June: in 2023 the center counted 26 percent more visitors and achieved a 24% growth in sales.

Sustainable measures expedited

Alongside the positive business development, SES is pursuing an important goal: to keep the technical quality of the centers at a high level, consume as little energy as possible, and further expand the proportion of energy the centers generate themselves from solar and hydropower. The energy requirement in excess of this is covered 100% in Austria and Italy with green power from renewable energy sources. Large savings are achieved with the climate systems in the malls, which are optimized to requirements: in Austria alone last year the SES malls saved 2.7 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year by adjusting the ventilation to the number of visitors in the mall, naturally while still ensuring the same high quality of their visit. This corresponds to the annual power consumption* of over 770 one-family houses.

In 2023 SES invested EUR 46 million in maintenance, energy-reduction measures, conversions and modernisations, and continued the consistent conversion of the lighting in garages, malls and on facades to LED. In Austria, Slovenia and Italy the SES malls operate with an energy management system certified by TÜV AUSTRIA, which was routinely checked and successfully extended in 2023. SES is also preparing for the introduction of an environment management system.

Photovoltaic roof, VARENA /// credit: Flightkinetic, SES

The expansion of the photovoltaic systems on the center roofs was expedited on a large scale: all five centers in Slovenia were equipped with photovoltaic systems in 2023, as was VARENA Vöcklabruck in Austria with the largest PV system to date within the SPAR Group. In Italy LE BRENTELLE in Padova was equipped with such a system. At the start of 2024 this was followed by the commissioning of the photovoltaic systems on MAX.CENTER Wels and ATRIO Villach. In total SES operates over 45,000 sq m of PV areas for its own electricity production, including those on seven centre roofs in Austria (MURPARK Graz, WEBERZEILE Ried, Mariandl Krems, CITYPARK Graz, VARENA Vöcklabruck, MAX.CENTER Wels, ATRIO Villach). SES is thus coming a large step closer to its climate goal of making 50 percent of the available roof areas usable for photovoltaics.

Site expansion: Hotel opening in 2024 and green light for starting construction and projects

2023 was trailblazing for SES in terms of project development. The construction of the hotel in the center of Lienz is entering its final phase – trial operation is starting at the end of April, with the official opening taking place in June.

In Croatia in 2023 preparations were made for the complete refurbishment of the mall KING CROSS in Zagreb, and construction began at the end of March 2024. With the refurbishment the mall area will be modernised and a large proportion of the shop spaces will be adapted. The location is being given a new central square, as well as highly attractive gastronomy areas with a connection to outdoors. Completion is planned for late summer 2025.

This year will also see the start of construction for an S-Park in the centre of Varazdin (Croatia) on the site of a textile factory that ceased operations years ago. The opening will take place in 2025.

An important milestone was also achieved for the extension of EUROPARK Salzburg, Austria, in 2023 which SES has envisaged for over a decade, with the acquisition of the site regulations for a further 8,500 sq m of retail space. The corresponding planning is in full swing.